ST. GEORGE — St. George Mayor Jon Pike as well as members of the St. George City Council gathered at the home of 84-year-old Ann Egelund Tuesday afternoon to present her with a special award for her years of dedication to lighting up her home for Christmas.
Since 2007, Egelund has been bringing holiday cheer to her neighborhood just off Riverside Drive in St. George by making sure it is lit up and decorated every year, despite her age and failing health.
It is a tradition, Egelund said, that began in Salt Lake City and has continued since she moved to Southern Utah.
“I have been doing this for years and years,” she said. “I climb ladders and do anything to get them up.”
While Egelund said she has no plans to stop doing it, health concerns may prevent her from being able to hang lights next Christmas and her son, Robert Egelund, wanted to be sure she was recognized for her efforts.
“She puts so much effort into it,” he said of his mom’s display. “She does it every year, never misses a year, in all types of weather.”
Robert Egelund approached the city and shared his mother’s story, he said, adding that they responded very quickly and were excited to honor her.
For St. George Mayor Jon Pike, the award was exactly what he hopes the city does more of in the future.
“We want to just take an opportunity more to recognize people and thank them,” Pike said, adding that Egelund’s efforts are in line with the city’s tagline, “the brighter side.”
The tagline is something Pike said is indicative of the kind of community St. George is, which is optimism, happiness and sunshine.
To that effect, Egelund’s honor was an official “Brigher Side” award, in keeping with the city’s trademark and something Pike said the city will continue to do.
“We’re going to start doing more of that and recognizing those kinds of things that just brighten our city,” Pike said, adding that Tuesday’s award for Egelund was a great way to start those efforts.
For Egelund, the award was a complete surprise.
Egelund was told by her son that a few people were interested in her lights and were going to visit her Tuesday afternoon. Instead, the mayor, along with several members of the City Council, gathered outside her home to present her with the certificate.
“You literally brighten our city,” Pike said, addressing Egelund and adding that her lights are like a big smile for the neighborhood.
Egelund, who loves all holidays, but Christmas the most, said she felt very special to be recognized.
“I feel very special because they acknowledged that I light up my house and my yard. I love it,” she said.
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